April 6, 2022

What Is a Proof of U.S. Domicile?

There are several requirements to submit an I-864 Affidavit of Support. The proof of U.S. domicile is one of those required documents. If an individual cannot provide this proof, their petition request could be rejected. With that, you might have plenty of questions about this process. Here are a few things you need to know about proof of U.S. domicile and all other required documents for approval. 

How Do I Know My Country of Domicile?

A family portrait of a family

All people have a domicile of origin. In most cases, you acquire a residence of origin at birth. You usually have the same domicile in the country as your parents' permanent home. Some people are born in one country but have a domicile in another. In those situations, the permanent residence of your parents is your official domicile. However, there are always exceptions to the rule, with dual citizenships and other special considerations. 

Related: What is the Form I-94 

In basic terms, domicile is the country considered your permanent residence. Remember that the residence does not have to relate to the physical aspect of maintaining a residence or home. USCIS defines domicile as "the place where a sponsor has their principal residence with the intention to maintain that residence for the foreseeable future. 

What Is a Domicile Document?

A domicile certificate is also known as a residence certificate. It is an official document used to prove that a person is a resident in a specific state in the United States. The government issues this document. Anyone who resides in the United States can apply for this certificate. A domicile document is critical for your I-864 Affidavit of Support. 

What Documents Can Be Used as Proof of Domicile?

Before receiving your domicile document, you need to prove U.S. domicile. If you have always lived in the United States, they do not need special evidence to prove domicile. However, federal tax returns and other supporting documents can help to establish U.S. domicile. 

If a sponsoring petitioner has ever lived abroad, the adjudicator might require the individual to provide evidence of a current domicile in the United States. Remember that the burden of proof is always on the sponsor. Other documents that can be used to establish proof of residence can include:

  • Homeownership or active lease
  • Federal income tax returns
  • U.S. bank account or other investments
  • Pay stubs from U.S. employer
  • Voter registration
  • Children's school registration

What Is the U.S. Country of Domicile?

person signing a document with a black pen

Any I-864 sponsor must be domiciled in the United States. While you might think the domicile is the equivalent of living in the country. However, the domicile must be your principal residence in the United States, including U.S. territories and the District of Columbia. You must also plan to maintain a principal residence in the United States for the foreseeable future. Yes, you can call to move to another state in the country, but the United States would be considered your country of domicile. 

Many people worry about traveling to another country. You will be able to travel abroad without disrupting your U.S. domicile. That means visiting family in another country or taking a short vacation. All of those travel opportunities will not disrupt your U.S. domicile. You will continue to have a U.S. domicile as long as it remains your permanent home and you intend to return. 

Proving a U.S. country of domicile is pretty simple. If you live at a U.S.-based address, then your country of domicile will be the United States. For some people, it is a little more complicated. For example, it can become difficult to define if they are employed overseas or have lengthy visits to another country. As a result, they will have to prove their domicile on Form I-864.

Related: How to Petition for Parents to Come to the United States

What Is I-864 Used For?

Form I-864 is also called the Affidavit of Support. This document is required for many family-based and employment-based immigrants. It shows that they have adequate means of financial support without the need to ask for public help or welfare. Some immigration categories do not need to fill out this form. These groups include special immigrants, diversity visas, or those seeking asylum. Consider this form a contract between the U.S. government and the sponsor. The sponsor promises to support the immigrant if they cannot do so by themselves.

The sponsor for Form I-864 must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident, or U.S. national
  • Prove that the United States is the sponsor's country of domicile
  • Have an income 125% over the federal poverty level

What Should I Fill in the Country of Domicile?

The country of domicile is your current established residence. You do not need to show additional documentation to prove this fact in many cases. With some other cases, more documentation is needed to complete Form I-864. You should never lie about your country of domicile. Falsifying the application can lead to a rejection of the document. Any official immigration document needs to be truthful with sufficient documentation to prove your country of domicile. 

Related: I'm a U.S. Citizen. Who Can I Sponsor to Get a Green Card


American flag waiving in the air

Proving your country of domicile might seem like a complex process. However, you just need to show proof of domicile to establish you have a permanent residence in the United States. When you have the necessary documentation to prove your domicile, it can help with Form I-864 Affidavit of Support. If you have any questions about proof of domicile, make sure to speak to an experienced immigration attorney for assistance.

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